FORMER Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s newly-launched opposition party, Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF), yesterday claimed the ruling Zanu PF party and State security agents had deployed agents within its ranks to destabilise it.
ZimPF founding spokesperson Rugare Gumbo told NewsDay that their party was aware Zanu PF had infiltrated the party’s structures, but vowed to soldier on and mount a strong challenge to President Robert Mugabe ahead of the 2018 elections.
“We know that they have deployed spies within our organisation to peddle falsehoods and cause confusion even to take information and understand our activities, but that will not deter us in anyway,” he said.
Gumbo’s remarks came amid claims by insiders that the party was reluctant to open its head office in Harare, preferring to have its headquarters in South Africa as a strategy to minimise infiltration by ruling party spies.
“It’s not true that we have offices in South Africa,” Gumbo said.
“That is why I was saying there could be some people deployed to peddle falsehoods and cause divisions within the party. We are yet to have an office here because of funds. Once we get the funds rolling, we will have a fully-fledged office, which will co-ordinate our affairs, but we are there on the ground.”
He said even if they had been infiltrated, solving the economic problems besetting Zimbabwe was an issue beyond Zanu PF.
“What should be noted and understood is that even if they infiltrate us, Zanu PF has no capacity to solve the country’s problems because they are the authors of the same problems,” he said.
“So infiltrating us will not help this country at all. People are ready to build a working Zimbabwe and Zanu PF must know this.”
But Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo yesterday denied Gumbo’s infiltration claims, describing ZimPF as a “dead project”.
“I can’t be talking about dead projects without any significance to the way we run our party or government. We are very busy. What is People First anyway?” he quipped, before switching off his mobile phone.
This is not the first time that opposition parties have accused Zanu PF of deploying spies to gain sensitive information and plot the collapse of most democratic movements since the 1990s.
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has previously accused Zanu PF of infiltrating his party’s structures and fuelling the many divisions that have rocked the opposition since its formation in 1999.
Political analyst Alexander Rusero said ZimPF’s allegations of infiltration could be far-fetched and exaggerated.
“It’s one thing for the CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) to infiltrate a political party and another for employees of CIO to be members of the People First. So the danger is, we may mistake membership for infiltration,” he said.
Another analyst, Ibbo Mandaza, said it was possible that ZimPF might have been infiltrated by State agents, just like any other movement opposing the ruling party.
“Infiltration is not new and is possible, but any organisation can survive depending on the character and strength of its leaders and content. With a clear leadership and a strong message, infiltration will not help much,” he said.
Mujuru was kicked out of Zanu PF on allegations of plotting to unseat President Robert Mugabe.
She was bundled out of the ruling party in 2014 alongside several former top government officials, who were deemed sympathetic to her, among them Gumbo and former State Security minister Didymus Mutasa